Week Ending Dec. 4, 2011. Songs: Katy Goes On Sale
Katy Perry's "The One That Got Away" holds at #9 on the Hot 100. Its airplay grew by 17%, but its digital sales dropped by 31%. So you might think it's probably out of the running to become a record-breaking sixth #1 single from Perry's Teenage Dream album. Think again. The song has been discounted to 69 cents in the iTunes Store, compared to $1.29 for most current hits.
But, you might be thinking, didn't Billboard and Nielsen SoundScan recently move to crack down on deep discounts in the wake of the controversial 99-cent promotion on Lady Gaga's album Born This Way? They did, but the discount on Perry's song isn't deep enough to be affected. Billboard and Nielsen SoundScan count all digital tracks provided they are priced at 39 cents or higher during their first three months of release.
The policy seems overly generous.
I have no problem with Perry potentially breaking Michael Jackson's record for the most #1 singles from an album. Records are made to be broken. And Perry makes consistently good records. She has brought a sense of fun to the business with her songs and videos. But if she breaks Jackson's record, it should be because fans like her and want to buy her songs, not because her record company slashed the price to juice sales.
Billboard's Keith Caulfield did a spot check last week and found that "The One That Got Away" was the only song in the top 75 on the iTunes' chart that was priced lower than the standard price of $1.29.
Perry will host Saturday Night Live on Saturday. That will give her song a boost on next week's chart. (The sales tracking period extends through Sunday night.) The price drop will also give her a boost, but, it seems to me, an unfair one.
"We Found Love" by Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris tops the Hot 100 for the sixth straight week. Only two other Rihanna singles have held the top spot this long. "Umbrella" (featuring Jay-Z) had seven weeks on top in 2007. Eminem's "Love The Way You Lie," on which Rihanna was featured, had seven weeks on top last year.
"We Found Love" also had six weeks at #1 in the U.K. It's the first song by any artist to log six or more weeks at #1 in both countries since the aforementioned "Umbrella," which was #1 in the U.S. for seven weeks and #1 in the U.K. for 10 weeks.